"Recognizing the Importance of our Community Clubs"
"As a young man growing up in the Southampton area, our community was always together in all we did, whether it was birthday parties, youth fundraisers, or attending sporting events at Rangers.
For myself and most of my peers, Southampton Rangers Sports Club was always the central hub of our world. I can vividly remember walking over the hill on Tuesdays and Thursdays as a youngster for training and my mother entrusting my safety to the coaching staff and senior players. We were learning different tricks of the trade from elders and watching games from the Pavillion. These things cemented that this was not simply a building. For us, this was and remains “our home.”
Without a doubt, watching and playing with the greats such as Mr.Cupmatch, Olin Jones, Ricky Brangman, Clevie Wade, Ryan Belboda, and being coached as a youth by Randy Raynor helped to forge my generation into the men and fathers that we are today.
You see, these great men and many more did not just teach me about sports. More importantly, they introduced the true values of life. The conversations and lessons taught to me in that changing room and on the field will forever remain a part of why I became the person I am today. With great pride, they helped mentor me to become Club President between 2016 - 2020.
All around Bermuda, we can see this story repeated at other community clubs that have guided young persons from being players on the field to sitting on the Club Executive. Some prime examples are other individuals such as Devarr Boyles of Western Stars, Neil Paynter of St. Georges Cricket Club, Richard Scott of Somerset Cricket Club, and Nadine Henry of Devonshire Recreation Club. These clubs are not just the backbone of our communities, but they set the template for the next generation of island leadership.
In my more recent role as a Member of Parliament for Constituency 30, Southampton East Central, one of my driving passions has been to be a part of the teams that help to give much-needed assistance to these community clubs.
On three separate occasions, August 2020, December 2020, and March 2021, we delivered this aid via Capital development grants along with grants from the Confiscated Assets Fund to support youth programs following a Chat and Chew event held last July.
A total of $714,922 for capital development assistance has been allocated to various community clubs thus far. Additionally, $68,700 has been made available from the Confiscated Asset Fund given in support of numerous youth programs. Your PLP government is committed to ensuring that community clubs remain a cornerstone of our community and this investment represents our commitment.
Once again, I would like to thank all of the elders of Southampton for grooming my generation into the men and women that we are today. You have laid the foundation for us. It is now our turn to continue your legacy of leadership.
Once a Ranger, never a stranger."
Mr. Jason Wade, JP, MP, of Constituency 30, Southampton East Central.